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Passover is a Judaica holiday with a history that goes back over 3,000 years. At that time, the Jewish people were held as slaves by the Pharaoh of Egypt, Ramses II. According to the book of Exodus, the pharaoh was warned by Moses that several plagues would come to Egypt if he did not free the slaves. When Moses inflicted 9 plagues, the Pharaoh agreed to release the Jewish people from slavery, but quickly changed his mind. However, after the 10th plague, when all of the firstborn children of Egypt died, the Pharaoh let the Jews go. The Jews hurriedly left due to the fickle mind of the Pharaoh, and were only able take unleavened bread with them, also known as Matza.

As expected, the Pharaoh sent his army after the Jews so that they could be brought back to slavery. By the time the Jews arrived at the Red Sea, they saw the Pharaoh's army advancing toward them. Moses parted the waters of Red Sea for the Jews to cross. As soon as the Jews crossed, the Red Sea filled up and drowned the pursuing soldiers.

Since being freed from Egyptian slavery, Jews have celebrated this historical event by having a feast called the Seder. The word 'Seder' means 'order' and refers to the order of historical events recalled in the Passover meal as well as the meal itself. The story of Passover is read from a book called the 'Haggadah'. While the main story of Passover is read by Jews the world over, like many other Jewish traditions, local customs and traditions have changed over time, so that the festival has been adapted to reflect the life and routine of individual communities.

[edit] The Seder Meal


A special family meal that is celebrated at Passover is called a Seder and is filled with rituals as a reminder of the significance of the holiday. Passover lasts for seven days. There are a number of foods eaten during the ritual Seder family meal partaken on the first two nights of Passover. Family customs may vary the items served at the Seder, but the following food items traditionally appear on the Seder plate: Wine is blessed and drank, Matzah (unleavened bread), Karpas: parsley, Maror, Bitter Herbs (usually raw horseradish), Charoses, a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, Beitzah, a roasted egg and Zeroah, traditionally a piece of roasted lamb shank bone is tasted during the ritual meal.

[edit] More Jewish Holidays